Can we review our Alma mater, rank up school teachers or even give ratings to our textbooks while reading them? For a normal person like me, it isn’t possible as I believe that these institutions can get me a caterpillar evolution and guide in becoming what I wish to be for. So, reviewing Shekhar Gupta’s National Interest columns was not possible for me. Thus, I am sharing my experience and view on these columns with my limited knowledge and intellect.
Before start reading the best ‘National Interest columns, I went on reading the recent copies of this column from web to understand the soul of this column. Because I think it is necessary to read anything without the baggage of expectations. So, reading recent columns introduced me with their flavor. The national interest columns are not about giving opinion on general issues, happening all across the country. These columns emphasize the vested interest of the nation in local issues like rape, molestation and killings that prints on second and third page of newspapers.
This column talks about the national interest lies in the tragic story of a family, which visited all corners in government to punish the person, who molested their 14 years daughter and even jailed their 16 years son for false allegation of stealing vehicles. It was a vicious seed of crime against women and national interest column talked about it. There are the anecdotes on the rise of HMT generation – the Hindi medium type that includes Kalpana Chavla, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar. This was a whole new crop of youngsters, who came from small towns to claim its share and gave tough challenge to elite Oxfordwallahs. And, this column talked about this. The book Anticipating India – The National Interest is divided in six parts that includes columns published during NDA days, UPA1, UPA2, the declining era of UPA, the rise of Narendra Modi and in the days of Anna – Aam Aadmi protest.
My Experience as a Knowledge Seeker: As I am into my early years of Journalism, this book is like a treasure. It get me the great lessons of journalism that I couldn’t have till date. It made me learn the art of being patient. It told me why this journalism business is so special and what its perks are. It did the storytelling of good old days but in form of anecdotes instead of heavily intellectual opinionated columns. It told me that Indian politics can’t be learn by reading big bulky books but by interacting with big old sidelined people. Shekhar Gupta calls himself an old styled reporter, who has got the habit of asking tough questions. And, this collection of columns is best among all the national interest columns published so far in last eighteen years.
50 Words Verdict: I suggest this book to all my journalism fellows as a must have, who still hold the cuttings of old Saturday columns, whose paper is dying with every passing monsoon. It is a treasure for young journalists and raise serious questions while staying away from old school of missionary journalism.